Monday, October 17, 2011

Reputations - John Calvin

This evening's lecture from the Reputations course in Trinity was about John Calvin (1509-1564) who created a version of Christian theology called Calvinism. The lecture was delivered by Dr Graeme  Murdock, who I have to say demonstrates extraordinary enthusiasm for such (in his words) a "dour" character. 

Calvin as shown to us by Dr Murdock.
Image link to Calvin Campus Store.
John Calvin is best known as the person on whom Calvinism is based - though he did not set out to found a new religion. He was a workaholic who espoused a moral way of life that in the 16th century was attractive to people who wanted to study the bible and practice their own religion. Catholics at that time were not allowed to read the bible, and the church was corrupt (think the Borgias!). Interestingly he promoted the idea that all Christians were far worse morally that they could ever conceive, and that life was about living according to certain rules of morality. He wrote a book (Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536) that was well received and was intended to be read alongside the bible - this was a revelation for believers at the time. Calvin did not want his grave to be marked - preferring that in death, as in life, that the body did not matter.

There were 16 people like me at the lecture, including one Calvinist who regaled us of the strictness of the religion when he was growing up. This lecture was one of the most interactive, with comment and questions happening throughout (and not just at the end as in previous lectures). A very enjoyable evening and course so far.

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